… the mother of Jesus said to him, “they have no wine.” (John 2:3)
This weekend in worship we will begin a two-week series on important sections of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. That means that we will unfortunately not have a chance to dive deeper into the gospel lesson assigned in the lectionary. If there were ever a story that seemed apropos for the beginning of Mardi Gras season – this is it.
The gospel lection this weekend is the story of the wedding at Cana. You may remember the tale – Jesus, his mother, and disciples are at a wedding in Galilee when the wine runs out. Though the hosts panic, Mary convinces Jesus to help. And after following his instructions to fill six stone jars will water, the best wine anyone had ever tasted came back out.
It was Jesus’ first miracle. The story ends by stating that this revealed his glory. So yes, we follow the man who began his ministry by ensuring that the party didn’t stop. (Take that how you will.)
There is something to this concept, however, of water becoming something more than it seems. In the kingdom of God, all of creation will become more – re-created into what it was meant to be. In a sense, things will become “more real” and we will see them for what they truly are. That is what it means to live in the kingdom now: to gain even a small glimpse of the true vision that is God’s reign fulfilled.
Not only does this story have some entertaining applications with our current social season in Southern Louisiana, but the idea of God’s glory being revealed is also perfect for another holiday we will celebrate this week – remembering the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Like many other great saints who have gone before us, Dr. King showed us a glimmer of the dream, the hope of a world set right. In this vision, it is justice, not wine, that will roll down like waters. Because justice is love made tangibly present in society.
And ensuring that everyone has their needs and dreams fulfilled – that was not just Dr. King’s dream. That was the ambition of the one who could walk on water, as well as turn the element into a tasty beverage. Jesus lived his life seeking justice for all who needed it and standing against every power that perpetuated domination, alienation, and subjugation. He fought to see the world become what it was meant to be. So did Dr. King. So do all of those who would truly follow him.
As we enjoy the party of Mardi Gras and give thanks for the life of one great leader, let us also remember that God calls each and every one of us to work miracles in our midst, too. Maybe it’s not turning water into wine, but there is still much work to be done. Let’s get to it.